Everyone knows that Google is king when it comes to generating traffic for your website. In fact, many webmasters practically disregard Yahoo and MSN altogether in their SEO efforts. And software download sites? Their time has passed, right?

I’d be lying if I said I didn’t agree with those statements. I look at my stats everyday, and the traffic from Google dwarfs all other sources. And download sites? I barely see a trickle from them. But most of the time when I look at my web stats, I’m looking at daily or weekly snapshots. I hadn’t run any long term numbers in a while, so tonight I decided to look at the year-to-date stats then slice and dice the data. What I found surprised me:

Traffic, downloads, and sales

Looking at just traffic and purchases, I assumed there was a gap in the data because Google visitors came back at some later point, after trying the software, and then made the purchase. But when I added the Download stats to the chart, the equation changed dramatically. MSN and Yahoo remained consistent between the three metrics, but Google dropped off significantly. This is a complete reversal of my last long term stats look-see.

And what’s the amorphous blob called “other”? Google Analytics doesn’t let you track external referrals for downloads, but luckily the stat package provided by my web host does (SmarterStats, in case you’re interested). Surprise, surprise. In the Downloads data, “other” is made up mostly of download site referrals and the rest is direct traffic.

I’m not going to jump to any conclusions yet, but I thought the data was interesting enough to share.

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